REPORT/SLIDESHOW: Badgers win on opening day

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Eastwood Town 3 Market Drayton Town 0

Chris Shaw and Nick Hawkins celebrated their first win as joint Eastwood managers but it wasn’t the scoreline that would have pleased them as much as the manner in which the victory was achieved.

Kieran Wells wheels away after scoring Eastwoods 3rd

Kieran Wells wheels away after scoring Eastwoods 3rd

Market Drayton looked a decent side and in Kayledon Brown, Yannick Makota and Dorryl Proffitt they have three strikers that will score a lot of goals and cause numerous problems for Evo-Stik First Division South defences.

However, the Eastwood defence for the most part restricted them to shooting from long range. With Eastwood’s midfield and strike force winning also their personal battles, the smiles finally started to return to the faces of their long-suffering supporters.

In an entertaining and open start to the game, Tris Whitman and Brad Munn went close for the Badgers, as did Rob Stevenson and Makota for Drayton.

Damien Stevens made a good save to deny Keiran Wells and Brown wasted a good chance after out-sprinting the Eastwood defence only to fire wide.

That miss was to prove costly, as within 60 seconds Whitman edged the Badgers in front.

The diminutive winger was enjoying his second league debut having played for the Badgers in the 2008/09 season. On this occasion he outpaced his marker to steer his shot wide of Stevens and into the net.

The second-half started much the same as the first with Market Drayton in the ascendency and only a brilliant save from Eastwood keeper Alex Malong preserved their lead.

Moments later the only sour note of the day occurred when Eastwood midfielder Carl Slater sustained a double dislocation of the shoulder, along with torn tendons and a chipped bone.

The referee rightly held play up for 30 minutes while an ambulance was called and judging by the player’s reactions, it would be a case of the team that handled the situation the best would go on to win the game.

Thankfully that was the Badgers who took control of the game. Ashley Robinson doubled the lead on 65 minutes, glancing home a close range header, and with that goal the he home side never looked back.

Led by inspirational skipper Gavin Hurren it was no surprise when they extended their lead seven minutes later when man of the match Wells headed home a Munn free-kick.

Munn was only inches away from increasing the lead after Whitman had beaten three players and Stevens could only parry his shot across goal, and in the dying minutes Stevenson went close to a consolation goal for the visitors, curling a shot agonisingly wide, but the Badgers were comfortable in seeing out the win.

Saturday, August 17, 2013:

Eastwood: 1 Alex Malong 2 Tyrone Burton 3 Paul Riley 4 Gavin Hurren (c) 5 Anthony Newton 6 Carl Slater (Greg Simmons 50) 7 Tris Whitman 8 Sam Craven 9 Keiran Wells 10 Ash Robinson 11 Brad Munn. Subs not used: Ben Gowing, Chris Shaw, Rich Whyman, Liam Garner

Market Drayton: 1 Damien Stevens 2 Sean Jones (Kieran McCalla 45) 3 Danny Ting 4 Paul McMullen 5 Jordan Hall 6 Matthew Campbell (Delroy Fox 72) 7 Rob Stevenson 8 Kyle Blake 9 Kayledon Brown 10 Yannick Makota 11 Dorryl Proffitt (John Crawford 72). Subs not used: Sam Westray, Joe Hawcroft Att: 145 Ref: Robert Townsend

Best Badger: Kieran Wells

report by Andy Cope

All photos by James Williamson (